English Translation (from 1834). Recommendation: Consult the modern translation by E. Archibald (1991)
Summary of Shakespeare's Pericles
Summary of content:
SUMMARY OF THE ANCIENT VERSION (by Albrecht Classen):
King Apollonius attempts to solve a riddle posed by King Antioch to win his daughter’s hand. Although he finds out the riddle’s meaning, that the father had raped his daughter, Antioch threatens to kill him if he does not come up with a better answer. Apollonius returns home, but leaves the next day with a ship and soon arrives at the city of Tarsus where famine threatens the citizens with death. He helps them out and is greatly honored, but he leaves them again after two months. A great storm causes his ship to be wrecked, but he is the sole survivor. Apollonius soon enters the service of King Archistrates and falls in love with his daughter, who returns his feelings. The two young people are allowed to marry, and after she has become pregnant, Apollonius learns the news that King Antioch has died, which makes him the heir. While the couple travels by ship to claim the land, she delivers a baby girl, but she seems to die during the delivery. The widower has her placed in a water_tight coffin and thrown into the sea. The coffin reaches the shore at Ephesus, and a wise doctor is able to bring her back to life. She serves as a high priestess for Diana. In the meantime, Apollonius takes his daughter to friends in Tarsus and accordingly names the girl Tarsia. Once again Apollonius departs, this time for Egypt. Tarsia grows up as a highly educated and wise young woman, but her foster mother tries to have her murdered out of jealousy, as her own daughter is despised for her ugliness. Before Tarsia can be killed, she is captured by pirates, who sell her to a pimp in Mytilene who has her work in his brothel. Because of her virtuosity, intelligence, and artistic skills she avoids losing her virginity and receives a lot of money from the men who feel pity with her. In the meantime Apollonius arrives in Mytilene and eventually recognizes his daughter. He frees her out of the hand of the pimp whom the citizens burn at the stake, and allows her to marry the prince of Mytilene, Athenagoras. In a dream Apollonius is told to travel to Ephesus, retell his life story, and then to revenge the misdeeds committed against his daughter in Tarsus. Having followed this order, he is recognized by his wife who is still living in Ephesus. Afterwards they travel home, where he establishes Athenagoras as his successor. Stranguillio and Dionysias, Tarsia’s foster parents, are stoned to death as a punishment for their misdeeds. Subsequently Apollonius returns to his father_in_law Archistrates for year_long festivities. Eventually, his wife bears him a son who later assumes his grandfather’s throne. All those who had helped Apollonius during his years of trial and tribulation are greatly rewarded, and the king and his wife live a long life in peace and virtue.